Our Family Welcomes You To The Oaks Estate

The Oaks Estate consists of over 680 ha of mountain reserve, lucern pastures, apple orchards, vineyards, breathtaking vistas and fresh country air. It is my family's passion to share this beautiful piece of countryside with our guests.

The farm is a special place for us all. It is here where we come together, away from our busy lives, to recharge and nurture our family values.

"We hope that during your time with us, this land will be as much of a blessing to you, as it is to my family"      - Gert Ehlers

Our Days

‘Work hard, play hard’ has always been a part of the family ethos and it is how we spend our days at The Oaks. A typical day would include an early morning coffee and rusk before we head out for a warm day in the African sun to work the cattle or tend to the orchards. Later in the afternoon we would take the horses up the mountain to, perchance, meet a new ‘arrival’ in the Nguni herd. At this time of the day, the setting sun turns the vineyard and fields around the farmyard to a golden hue. Our children run around yard to enjoy the last bit of light as we get the fire going and settle down to enjoy good food and conversation around the ‘braai’.

Season's Changes

Each season has its own highlights, but my favourite time of the year in the Overberg is winter. The rains turn the area to a lush green with yellow patches of canola fields scattered around the scene. This is the time we work the fields. We keep a few extra pairs of ‘wellies’ for friends and guests to, dress warmly, and head out for a tractor ride or just to enjoy a stroll in the lands. The crackling fire in the Manor House kitchen is a warm welcome back after a morning out in the fresh crisp air.

A Bit Of Heaven

It is a treat for us to take the winding road leading up the mountain to the viewpoint and then hike down to the waterfall. Here, high in the mountains and in unspoilt nature, one feels a little closer to heaven. The Oaks farm offers a true country experience while being treated with the luxuries of fabulous rooms, good food, personal service. We hope that during your time with us, this land will be as much of a blessing to you, as it is to my family. Often life in its simplest form provides true riches. I think this is what The Oaks Estate offers.

Farming On The Oaks

 
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What's There

The lower reaches of the 680 hectares, from the river heading towards the mountain, is farmed mainly with cattle and fruit, apples & pears being the bearing commodity. An abundance of flora and fauna exists in and amongst the controlled environment creating a completely natural setting.

Approximately 1,500 young weaner cattle are kept on irrigated pastures and planted fields. A little closer to Ranching, making for a truly aesthetic South African experience.

Production

These cattle are fattened to produce premium grade beef for the South African market. Different varieties of pears and apples are grown in the 60 ha of orchards with the bulk of the fruit being exported to Europe. Harvest time is between February and April.


Another beautiful time to visit the farm is in spring when the orchards are in bloom. The farm also has a small vineyard for boutique wine production. Horses and other farm animals are kept around the farmyard.

 

THE RESERVE

Flora And Fauna

Numerous examples of proteas and other fynbos can be found in this area. A natural indigenous yellow wood forest is hidden in one of the gorges higher up on the mountain. The forest is accessible only by foot but rewards with a ‘rain forest’ and pristine mountain stream. An indigenous Nguni cattle breeding herd and some indigenous game roam are found in the reserve.

The Valley

A visit to the waterfall is a must for all visitors to the farm. The mountain road leads to a great view point of the Overberg. From here it is only a short walk down into the valley and up the stream through the yellow wood forest to the waterfall.

 
 

The History Behind The Oaks

Heritage Site

The Oaks Estate has a rich historical background and is currently under consideration for a Provincial Heritage status which will acknowledge the Oaks Manor House Complex as one of the best examples of a complete Cape Dutch farmyard in South Africa.

The homestead was considered as the most elegant and comfortable home, outside of Cape Town itself.

ARchitecture

Much care and attention has been given to preserve the architectural integrity and history of the buildings in a restoration project which has taken over 3 years. As early as 1727 Smidht, who established the first Christian Missionary at Genadendal close to Greyton, built the first structure on the farm.

The structure has stood against the elements and exists today as it were all those decades ago, making this property and its assets a commemorable artform.

Way Back When

In the 1800s the farm became famous for breeding the best race horses in the Cape Colony and for the contribution to the development of agriculture in South Africa. It is also during this time that the homestead was seen as ‘the most elegant and comfortable home in the colony outside Cape Town itself’ (Burrows 101). Some of the most prominent figures in the history of the Overberg have lived and farmed on The Oaks. Van Breda and Bailey specifically are recorded in historical archives as having made a significant contribution to the development of agriculture in South Africa.

 
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RESTORING AND PRESERVING A PIECE OF THE PAST

NEW DISCOVERY

"The discovery that the old buildings were a truly historic gem was quite unexpected. It initiated a new adventure and extensive project. The three year renovation of The Oaks Farmyard has been a family effort."

- Gert Ehlers

ORIGINALITY

Once the work began we uncovered many exciting original materials like the magnificent yellow wood timbers and stonework which we were able to incorporate into the new construction. This further helped us to rehabilitate the Manor House complex to its former glory.

APPRAISAL

The buildings were found in a very dilapidated state. The Manor House was last occupied more then 50 years ago and many structures had been ‘added onto’ to the original buildings. Historian, Dicey du Toit, provided the expertise in researching the history of the farm with specific emphasis on the architectural history.

AUTHENTICITY

Malherbe & Rust architects have guided us through the project with the primary priority being historic authenticity. The work has been carried out meticulously and care has been given to every detail, resulting in a magnificently restored and preserved piece of architectural history.